Sports Editor

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So... Alabama fans, wanna talk about it?

There is a bright side: only about 51 more weeks left until the next Clemson-Alabama championship game. So, quite literally, wait until next year.

Kickers are people too, just ask Cody Parkey, but I don't think they're supposed to be lead blockers. Nick Saban's odd fake field goal play call in the second quarter showed that he'd shifted into an unfamiliar desperation mode and that things were way off. When they didn’t score on the first drive of the third quarter, I think we all knew the Crimson Tide was on red alert.

So that’s our last memory of the 2018 college football season — Alabama getting spanked and someone else (I’ll depart from naming them again in deference to our South Carolina-alum publisher) being dominant.

You know who else is dominant? The NFL. The TV ratings are in: the college title game had 25 million viewers. Last Sunday, the Dallas-Seattle playoff game — a wild-card game that will be followed by seven other higher-stakes games — had just over 30 million viewers.

Good for you if you watched Monday night’s tussle, which was really the last in a string of bowl games. Did you watch any of the other three dozen bowl games?

I meant to touch on this last week: during the first quarter, the First Responders Bowl in Dallas right before New Year’s was canceled after a hard thunderstorm that forced the teams off the field hit in the first quarter.

They didn't wait it out, or postpone it a day. Just canceled it. It’s further proof that, as long as the sponsors keep cutting the checks for these conference fundraisers, only two kinds of people care if they’re ever played: coaches and gamblers.

Coaches love getting two extra weeks of practices ahead of a bowl. As for the degenerates, if they can’t put action on the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, they’ll find something else to bet on …

… On the topic of kickers: if you’re going to miss big kicks, at least have a cool name to say. No offense to Cody Parkey, Jake Elliott and the like, but when I was growing up we had guys like Rolf Benirschke, Uwe Von Schamann, Donald Igwebuike, Pete Stoyanovich, Ali Haji-Sheikh, Martin Gramatica (who let us call his misses “Gramatical errors”) and the kicking Zendejas brothers …

… Eagles’ quarterback Nick Foles just keeps winning playoff games despite the odds. Sunday’s game in New Orleans will be the fifth straight time his team will be a playoff game underdog. To have a playoff streak you have to win games.

The question is: does Foles wear a ‘9’ or an  ‘S’ on his chest? …

… Before getting into this week’s Mighty News-Gazette Divine Nine, if you saw Charles Barkley (yes, that Barkley) in town last weekend, he was here to attend Frank Ford’s memorial service. Was told he took photos with many kids and well-wishers, so it sounds like he’s mellowed in his age.

So here’s this week’s list:

1. Clemson. 2. Alabama. 3. Dallas (finally won a playoff game). 4. SuperFoles. 5. Frank Ford. 6. Sir Charles. 7. Donald Igewuike. 8. My staff of agents and resume writers — there are a handful of NFL head coaching jobs still open and I can’t so worse than most. 9. UCF (I don’t care what the polls say).

Here are the Picks of the Weak, Divisional Playoff Edition:

Indianapolis at Kansas City (-5.5): Andy Reid is 1-4 in playoff games with Kansas City. He has a rookie quarterback, and Andrew Luck is on the other sideline. That all just makes too much common sense. Chiefs, by just 3 though.

Dallas at L.A. Rams (-7): Both Los Angeles teams are still alive. We could have an all-L.A. Super Bowl … in Atlanta … when the college title game was just a couple hours north of L.A. in Santa Clara. I bring all this up just to avoid saying bad things about the Cowboys. Rams by 11.

L.A. Chargers at New England (-4): If a Nick Saban team can lose on the big stage, so can a Bill Belichick team. But they’re expecting snow in the Northeast this weekend, so so much for that great idea. Patriots by 7.

Philadelphia at New Orleans (-8): The Foles magic was back last week, despite needing a “Double Doink” (sorry Bears fans). If the Eagles are going to win in The Dome, Foles needs to be less like a guy you read about in a comic book and more like a guy found in the Bible. There’s having faith, and there’s needing more than that. Saints by 4.

Petey “The Gators Are Going To Win” Covino says: That ‘Bama loss couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch …

Brian “Big Man” McBride’s Super Sniffer of the Week: Chargers by a feeling (and 3 points) over New England.